The Church of Christ, Scientist, convening its 91st Annual Meeting in Boston June 2, focused its attention on fulfilling the denomination's ``mission of Christ-healing.'' In a taped video presentation, The Christian Science Board of Directors stressed the church's founding purpose, dating from 1879, to commemorate the teachings and life of Christ Jesus ``which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing.''
For the first time, videotapes of the Boston meeting will be shown at Christian Science churches around the world, enabling members of the century-old denomination to be part of the meeting in their respective cities and countries.
Reports from the field -- from Christian Scientists around the world -- were also delivered via video recordings.
A speaker from New York State described a healing ``through prayer'' of a toxic condition that doctors feared would endanger her unborn child; a woman from New England told of being lifted from destitution and suicidal tendencies to hope and new purpose; a man from the Philippines recounted his recovery from a serious gunshot wound. Asked what he felt was the most important element in the healing, he referred to forgiveness for the man who shot him:
``Forgiveness helps a lot in healing because if you forgive, there is love. When you demonstrate love, you feel you are already in the kingdom of God and all is possible.''
Those attending the two-hour afternoon meeting also heard reports from church officers and committees, including the following:
Michael Thorneloe, chairman of The Christian Science Board of Directors, discussed the various church activities that focused on peace. These included more than 700 public lectures during May that underscored a Christian perspective of peace.
Church treasurer Donald Bowersock thanked members for their contributions during the past year. These not only supported the church's various worldwide denominational activities, he said, but also enabled it to contribute to a variety of humanitarian relief organizations.
Nathan Talbot, manager of the church's information office, spoke about court cases challenging the legitimacy of spiritual healing as practiced over several generations by Christian Scientists. ``The real controversy is a struggle over the underlying concept of looking fully to God for healing.''
A panel of editors, including Katherine W. Fanning, editor of The Christian Science Monitor, discussed the church's publications:
Members were brought up to date on the Monitor's activities, on the latest moves to enhance the newspaper's quality, and the expansion plans for broadcasting.
The editor of the church's religious magazines, Allison Phinney Jr., reported an increase in accounts of spiritual healing submitted for publication. Mr. Phinney noted, ``The Sentinel and its readership confirm the fact that spirituality has `come of age' and is relevant to every contemporary topic.''
The newly appointed clerk of The Mother Church, Virginia S. Harris of Birmingham, Mich., reported on last summer's international gathering for young Christian Scientists who are members of Christian Science Organizations on university campuses. The meeting on ``Individual Spirituality and the Future of Mankind'' drew some 2,500 students and faculty members from 22 countries.
It was announced that Timothy A. MacDonald of Washington, D.C., and Marianne Bauer of Frankfurt, West Germany, have been appointed to three-year terms as Readers at The Mother Church. They will read from the Scriptures and from the denominational textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. Jean K. Weida of Boston, Mass., was named to the one-year-long post of president of The Mother Church.